Published March 26, 2012
Losing your beer belly can prove challenging, but with dedication, you can get rid of abdominal obesity through diet and exercise changes.
The beer belly
Beer bellies don't necessarily come from drinking beer, although that certainly contributes to them. A sedentary lifestyle and excessive calorie intake--through beer or otherwise--will lead to undesirable weight gain. For women, this fat is deposited mainly in the hips and thighs. For men, it rests slightly higher in the belly.
However, if you consume high levels of fat during the same meal in which you drink lots of alcohol, fat may be deposited in the liver.
Dr. Carla Wolper of the Center for Nutrition and Obesity Research said, "In alcoholics, a large abdomen may be a serious condition called abdominal ascites, where fluid accumulates in the abdomen just as it does in starvation."
Other than sculpting your figure, there are serious health problems that should encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle to lose your beer belly. The Mayo Clinic says that having excessive belly fat increases your risk of various diseases and conditions: heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea.
The myth of targeted weight loss
Sit-ups and crunches help tone abdominal muscles but will not result in a significant decrease in belly fat. Many nutritionists and fitness experts, including Wolper, report that, contrary to popular belief, targeted weight loss is not possible. Wolper said, "You can certainly lose weight, but with no certainty as to where on the body that weight loss will first appear."
When asked what exercises are best to lose one's beer belly, Wolper responded, "The exercises that burn up the most calories!" Participation in aerobic exercises to reduce total body fat will help you shed the pounds around your stomach most effectively. This can include running, kickboxing, swimming, circuit training, cycling, soccer or basketball.
Weight lifting and aerobics in combination burn more weight than aerobics alone, according to fitness experts. Weight lifting raises your metabolic rate for hours following your workout. It also increases your muscle mass, which improves your metabolism for the long term. By lifting weights, you won't simply lose fat. You will drastically improve your muscle to fat ratio, restructuring your physique for the better.
A healthy, balanced diet of natural whole foods is essential to losing weight. Eliminate processed foods because their high trans fat content can shorten your life. Cut down on beer and soda intake because these high-calorie beverages add weight without nutrients.
You need fats but make sure they pack nutritional value as well, such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Remember not to fast or starve your body, as this will signal survival mode, wherein your body will store more fat because you aren't receiving any. Keep your metabolism stoked by eating five small meals instead of three large meals and always remember to eat something for breakfast.